early morning readings

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“… in the big room they now entered, time had stood still. It was furnished with ascetic sparseness. At one end, facing the wall was a desk and a chair. At the other end, a bed with a small rug in front of it, like a prayer rug. In the middle was a reading chair with a standing lamp and next to it mountains of messy piles of books on the bare floorboards. Nothing else. The whole thing as a sanctuary, a chapel to the memory of Amadeu Inácio de Almeida Prado, doctor, resistance higher and goldsmith of words. The cool, eloquent silence of a cathedral prevailed here, the impassive rustle of a room filled with frozen time.” ~Pascal Mercier, Night Train to Lisbon (pg. 108)

“It was not in the first few moments that I saw all these things, though I saw more of them in the first moments than might be supposed. But, I saw that everything within my view which ought to be white, had been white long ago, and had lost its lustre, and was faded and yellow. I saw that the bride within the bridal dress had withered like the dress, and like the flowers, and had no brightness left but the brightness of her sunken eyes. I saw that the dress had been put upon the rounded figure of a young woman, and that the figure upon which it now hung loose, had shrunk to skin and bone. Once, I had been taken to see some ghastly waxwork at the Fair, representing I know not what impossible personage lying in state. Once, I had been taken to one of our old marsh churches to see a skeleton in the ashes of a rich dress, that had been dug out of a vault under the church pavement. Now, waxwork and skeleton seemed to have dark eyes that moved and looked at me. I should have cried out, if I could.” ~Charles Dickens, Great Expectations